Anti-aging has both shaped and dominated the beauty narrative for the past few years, but has become stagnant and lacking in innovation. At the same time, demographic realities and projections have had an impact on the beauty industry and its future.
More Aging Consumers
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), life expectancy increased by five years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest gain since the 1960s.a Consequently, seniors—adults more than 60 years old—will account for 22% of the world’s population by 2050.b
Older, Happier, Feeling Younger
For women, the gap between actual and perceived age widens with time, meaning that the older they become, the younger they feel.c In fact, the Yale School of Public Health has illustrated that the way we perceive aging has a direct impact on aging itself.
In a 2016 publication, B.R. Levy and A. Bavishi found that positive aging self-perceptions have led to longer survival. In “Survival Advantage Mechanism: Inflammation as a Mediator of Positive Self-Perceptions of Aging on Longevity,” the authors wrote, “We examined whether C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of cumulative stress-related inflammation, mediates the relationship between [self-perceptions of aging] and survival.”
Furthermore, a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry Reports showed older people tend to be happier—fewer incidences of depression, anxiety and stress—than younger people, and that their happiness increases with their age. In “Paradoxical Trend for Improvement in Mental Health with Aging,” M.L. Thomas et al. wrote, “These cross-sectional findings suggest the possibility of a linear improvement in mental health beginning in young adulthood … ”
Older consumers are also more connected than ever before. For instance, in France, 80% of women aged 55 to 64 years old are digital users.d Due to their connection to the digital world, these consumers are increasingly more aware of their health and attractiveness. At the same time, access to more sophisticated beauty products is rising.
Changing the Aging Conversation
The mode of communication around the dynamic anti-aging segment is evolving along with the consumer. The struggle against the effects of the time and the fight against wrinkles are no longer expressed in the same way. More and more, the beauty industry openly discusses getting older and feeling good in age. This situation is already very visible on the market from senior models in women’s magazines to sexygenarian bloggers and silver-haired YouTubers who symbolize the “chic emblem of the well-aging.”
Anticipate the Ravages of Time
Older millennials desire to protect their skin’s youthfulness and to combat the effects of fatigue. As a tech-savvy generation, they’ve become aware of the harmful effects of pollution and other environmental components on their skin. Therefore, they look for products that match their skin-profile, provide protection from environmental factors and provide breathability.
The solution? Design products that behave like a second skin, offering a protective, lifting film, as well as a natural touch and noticeable something extra, as seen in F-1.
Slow Down Time
Active 40-something mothers and other busy consumers demand products that address the appearance of early wrinkles and place a premium on immediate and deep efficacy. The solution? The activation of biological mechanisms that deliver the skin’s elasticity, revitalize expressiveness and work fast, as seen in F-2.
The focus on age must be replaced by a timeless attractiveness. Those in their “happy 50s” want to age gracefully and accept their appearance by promoting their well-being. Over the last 30 years, consumers have gradually expended their perception of anti-aging from fighting wrinkles to accepting signs of aging, while remaining elegant.
This beauty vision is based on enhancement of well-being and staying in harmony with age. Brands should respond by delivering anti-aging solutions that stimulate the tissue metabolism in order to maintain or restore radiance, calmness, hydration and firmness, thus revealing healthy mature skin (see F-3).
Well-aging is the Future
The continuing innovation and merging between wellness and beauty will lead to a new direction for beauty players. Consequently, consumers will prefer a holistic message of aging with grace, backed up with the latest natural technical solutions.
Helene Muchico is an agro-engineer who graduated with a marketing degree from HEC Paris. She is passionate about beauty trends and consumer behavior studies and leads the project management team for the marketing and sales departments at Silab (www.silab.fr).
Sarah Bachir analyzes the B-to-B skin care market for the marketing and sales department at Silab and provides business inputs to the worldwide team. She majored in cosmetology at the University of Pharmacy in Nantes.